Cyrus Batchelder, an early resident of Camden
There is a map of Camden dated 1856. Around it is a border of various houses and businesses in Camden (which included Rockport at that time), and one of the houses shown is 71 Elm St., belonging to Cyrus Batchelder. He is the one about whom I write today.
Incidentally, each time I looked at the map, I wondered why those particular homes were on it. Later I learned that the owners paid to have their home or business on the large map, which helped to pay for having that map made. There are, to my knowledge, only two large maps of Camden made in the early years, and they are 1856 and 1875. They are wonderful resources for that time period.
On April 15, 1853, the land at 71 Elm St. was purchased by Cyrus Batchelder from George and Harriet Chase, W.K. Norwood and his wife Clementine. It is an interesting old deed, when Camden was in Waldo County and in the day of beautiful penmanship. It read in part:
“…do hereby convey the piece of land in said Camden on the Northerly side of the road running from Camden harbor so called by the Norwood Place so called to Rockport so called which is bounded as follows to wit, beginning in the Northerly line of said road at the Southwesterly corner of land owned by the heirs of Mary Porter. Thence South fifty nine degrees West or as said road runs six rods. Thence North fifty nine degrees East six rods to said Porter line. Thence South thirty one degrees East on said Porter line eight rods to the place of beginning. Containing eight square rods.”
It was signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of Hiram Bass, Justice of the Peace.
I guess, little did they realize that many more homes would be built in years to come, and those people listed would die and land would change hands (or names). But I suppose that is better than many deeds where the boundaries read “to a pile of rocks, thence Easterly to an oak tree, etc.” Trees and rocks also disappear over the years.
Mr. Batchelder was born in Union in 1805. He came to Camden sometime in the 1840s, and although Union is now a close neighbor, in those days it was it seemed far away from us. One either had to walk it (as many did) or perhaps go by horse and buggy.
He married Adeline Simmons and they had five children: Caroline, Faroline, William, Argyl and LaForest Batchelder.
Cyrus became a businessman in town for a short time and then manufactured blocks, (used in rigging vessels), in business with Horatio Alden. That was only one of many businesses that Horatio Alden owned.
Mr. Batchelder was prominent in Camden town affairs. He was also a Republican candidate for representative to Legislature in 1868. However, he was defeated by Philander J. Carleton in a very close vote of 460-439. I doubt if they had recounts in those days. Carleton had previously been the Representative.
Cyrus died Sept. 1, 1880, and the article referred to him as “an old citizen of this town” at age 75. He was buried at Mountain View Cemetery, as was his wife Adeline, who died in 1888.
His son, LaForest, sold the property at 71 Elm St. on Feb. 29, 1932, to Grace Thorndike Jenkins. It was “in consideration of one dollar and love and affection and care” of him during his life by Grace, his granddaughter, of Stonington in Hancock County. It is not shown in the directories that Grace and her husband James B. Jenkins ever lived in that house.
Cyrus’ home was then sold to Roy Fuller, one of Camden’s mailmen, from Mrs. Jenkins on Oct. 25, 1935, probably as a neighborhood investment. In December of that year Roy sold it to Clarence Taylor and his wife Evelyn. Many older Camden residents remember it as the Taylor Inn, taking guests for a night, a week or even longer. The Taylor Inn prospered during World War II, when people came to work in the local shipyard which was building vessels for the war effort and many needed a room in which to stay.
The home was next owned by Clifford Taylor, son of Clarence. In 1976 Clifford’s wife Lucy became part owner and continued to run the Taylor Inn after her husband’s death. It was purchased from Lucy Taylor by David Dickey on June 12, 1984, and he continued the tradition of renting rooms. Eleven years later David built the spacious Camden River House Hotel in Tannery Lane.
Today, Cyrus Batchelder’s home is a business, but no longer one of renting rooms.
Barabra Dyer is Camden's official town historian.